Defeat has been admitted.
A rebuild has occurred. But not without even more knowledge being gained.
Firstly, I discovered the local computer shop has an experienced gamer on the front desk and she is a tech head. This is a gold standard turn of events because I don’t know many local folk pushing the boundaries of their PC, and having a person who has played FPS’s in a corporate sponsored team is definitely at the pointy end.
A theory I had about black border around my monitor being caused by the HDMI cable was proven by borrowing a DVI to DVI cable. Pulled out the HDMI to DVI cable and popped in the new and instant solution.
Next came re-installing Win 7 in 32 bit mode. A startling difference. I moved the data off my biggest hard disk and then removed the other drives from the loop. The build was clean and the Gfx card worked like a dream.Updated the drivers and anti V but stayed right away from the Windows upgrades.
Went to play BF3 and got 10 seconds play and exactly the same error code in Event Viewer.
Bummer, but still very encouraging. So much more of the system was working as it should.
Time to use the 64 bit version of Win 7. Whatever the outcome, I’d end up with a clean version of Windows and I could take the card back for a different brand. I would also end up being able to use the full 8 Gig of Ram that the old version could not deal with. If there is one thing I hate it’s not being able to use all the tech available. (Skyrim designers take note)
As it turned out, Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit was the clinching change. BF3 runs like a dream. In fact it is so responsive that I might have to wind down the mouse sensitivity. Compared to the PS3 version, it runs super fast and has much bigger maps and more vehicles. The environment is more sophisticated too. Instead of the flat water in the PS3 version, the swell rolls in and is incredibly immersive.
The plan from now on? Don’t pollute the Games machine with stuff like Office and other business apps. They can live happily on the laptop and take all the updates I trust to run. If I need to use the tower for some work related material, I’ll run off the other hard disks. The Games machine will only be running essential BF3 updates and Windows updates rated as critical for BF3.
I wasn’t totally out of options because a change of Gfx card was still to be tried, but I was running out of work arounds.
So thankyou Santa. Contemporary mobo knowledge gained. HDMI cable limitations discovered. The benefits of 64 bit Windows recognised. And most of all, a valuable technical resource discovered.
PC upgrade. Correct decision.